Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wrapping Up the Ending


The Read: [2 April 10] Gone Tomorrow, Lee Child's Jack Reacher is sprinting towards its ending.  Taking Friday night to just finish it.  My book isn't going anywhere ... and I hear there's a holiday on, a big enough one to make the stock market shut up.

Saturday Update:  Finished Gone Tomorrow.  As always, when I finish a Child novel, I feel like burying my head in the sand.  Reading him is like watching a master magician.  You have some idea about how he creates his impressions, but you haven't an idea about copying his expertise.  --  Hey, I can admire without emotionally putting myself down.  I should hope he'd have learned something after over ten novels hitting it big time.

Half way through and it's time for the potential villains to reveal themselves through their actions and lies.  I started the read with about 40% of the book to go with all the plot elements twisting and turning.  Child begins to line his cast of characters where they belong in scenes complete with chases by foot and subway around the middle part of Manhattan.  Best yet, Child has three categories:  good guys, bad guys, and general bureaucratic pains-in-the-arse, giving them all many opportunities to change sides in the equation of good vs evil.  [My opinion.  Human dignity should make evisceration while still alive a crime against humanity -- among other possibilities.  Too bad so many people get away with committing them.]   

Now to talk about the ending without lobbing a spoiler -- because the ending is masterful.  Page 517 [of a 543 page book], the miscalculation in Reacher's reasoning pops out of the bathroom, armed and with Reacher down to his last bullet.  Reacher uses his last bullet to off the henchman -- leaving him to the mercies of two knife-wielding fans of evisceration.  

There, I don't think I told the ending.  Of course, Reacher survives for the next book.  It's already published, I think, but you'll have to read the book to see how Child ends it.

Note:  The New York Times today had a set of lovely maps of Manhatten showing the various districts of the island with a big blanks spot where Central Park is.  The maps were made to show where it's easy or difficult to find cabs during different parts of the day.  Hey, I pick up research tools wherever I find useful ones.

I wish I had it when reading the book.  Though I have visited the town since I have two New Yorkie kids, there were some districts on the maps I had never heard of.  --  [Hey, what do you expect from someone who had never got east of Pine Ridge, South Dakota until 1973, and that was only because we hopped planes on our way to Britain.]


Web Notes:  Nancy Drew on steroids!  Innovators create things that sometimes make your jaws drop, but aren't necessarily for you ... or me.  James Patterson, the writing machine, is a case in point.  The New York Times did a Sunday magazine article on him a couple weeks back.  Jim Thomsen, of  the 1st Turning Point blog, published a great summary and some comments on Patterson's significance. [  http://1stturningpoint.com/?p=3638 ]

Work for hire arrangements -- where writer's give up all rights to what they write and are paid a fee instead -- have always existed in writing and the business world.  I've done it.  Millions have done it ... over time, at least.  The question is whether you want put your fingers/head on the block.

Does the idea of being a writing machine appeal to you, ie: producing 3-4 books a year?  Here's a telling quote with a brief map:
The Times piece says that Patterson “avoids description, back story and scene setting whenever possible, preferring to hurl readers into the action and establish his characters with a minimum of telegraphic details. … They are light on atmospherics and heavy on action, conveyed by simple, colloquial sentences.”

Personally, I think I'll plod along with one draft a year.  Think of it as resisting temptation -- like not trying to be a real estate millionaire when the bubble's ready to pop.

Progress:  Maren is creaking along -- something I find annoying after the way she kept intruding in my thoughts when I was trying to wrap-up Emma.

Trivia:  The silly apricot's blooming.  Now, I'm waiting for a freeze to knock its blossoms off.
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